Soft, Fresh, Multi Grain Bread

Soft, Fresh Multi Grain Bread

Soft, Fresh Multi Grain Bread

I can just see many of you now. “Ewwwww, she said multi grain! That must mean its healthy and tastes like old cat litter!!” Fine, so maybe I’m transferring my own reaction to hearing the words multi grain. But I know SOME of you are like me. We hear those words and automatically close the page or go look for something made with heavy cream, tons of sugar and chocolate. Again, maybe that’s mainly me. No, no, nooooo, I KNOW others do it.

That said, I DO however like fresh breads. But even I know that ones made with all white flour have little to no nutritional value. They’re just empty (albeit extremely tasty) calories made up of carbs. But oh my, they are delicious. I have tried the store bought whole grain breads and it is nearly impossible t find one that doesn’t taste like cardboard. So I make my own. Until you try it, you can never know how tasty a FRESH loaf of whole grain bread is. Soft, fluffy (no, not as fluffy as white bread but nowhere near as dense as store bought cardboard multi grain bread. The only drawback with this bread is it doesn’t store well. It gets rather crumbly with age. But it rarely lasts long enough around here for that to be a problem. Sliced thin (if cutting for sandwiches, always wait until bread is totally cool before slicing), it makes great sandwiches. Sliced a bit thicker and slathered with butter and jam, this is a fantastic snack or side for a meal. We had it tonight with a yummy creamy turkey dumpling soup. Sooooo good together!

You know the drill… git to cookin’!

With this recipe, make sure to premeasure your grains and have them ready to go. It’s easy to get flustered and forget one or more when using this many different types of grain in one bread.

Multi Grain Bread

  • 3- 3 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rye flour (you can buy rye flour in fairly small bags and once you try this recipe, believe me, it won’t go to waste)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds or pepitas, your choice
  • 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten (optional but I recommend it. It helps make a typically dense loaf like this much lighter plus helps it keep better. You can find it with the flours and yeasts at the grocery store)
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ (if you want a touch more sweetness, feel free to use the honey wheat germ)
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine two cups of the bread flour, the salt and the yeast.
  2. Combine the rye flour, oats, cornmeal, sunflower seeds, vital wheat gluten if using and wheat germ in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large microwave safe measuring cup, heat the water, milk, oil and molasses to between 120 degrees and 130 degrees.
  4. Add the warmed liquid to the flour mixture in the stand mixer bowl. Beat 2 minutes at low speed.
  5. Add in the combined grain mixture you set aside along with an additional 3/4 cup bread flour. Let the mixer combine and then knead this for about 5 minutes.
  6. Turn the mixer off and feel the dough. It should be just VERY slightly tacky to the touch, but your finger shouldn’t stick to it at all.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for just a minute or so. Put into an oiled bowl and turn the dough to make sure all sides get oil on them.
  8. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  9. When risen, punch down and shape into two loaves. Put them into 2 well greased 9 inch loaf pans and again, let rise until nearly doubled in bulk. While they rise, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  10. When risen, bake at 350 degrees until the loaves are golden brown and firm to the touch on top, about 20 to 25 minutes. Turn bread out onto a rack to cool for about one hour. I know, I know, you will end up slicing it while it’s still warm, but I have to at least try to pretend I don’t know this and that I think you’ll leave it to cool.

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Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

I’ve never been a huge bread fan. At least not when it came to the store bought kind. I ate it when I was a kid because…well, I ate everything when I was a kid. But I much preferred a pack of Lemonheads or a piece of fried chicken. Now though, I kind of like some of the store kinds. Not the ones in the bread aisle; they still suck donkey toes. But I love how so many grocery stores are now branching out into making artisan breads or at the very least, they stock more than an occasional loaf of stale French bread.

The problem with the fact that stores have gone gourmet is that I now bake less (as the lack of posts shows). When it’s so easy to grab a loaf of fresh rye bread or fresh Vienna bread at ones local Kroger, it is easy to become lazy. And since lazy and I are friends from way back (I could tell you stories about my mother being convinced that I would never ever learn to keep a house clean. Mom, wherever you are, I’m sure you’re tickled that I now keep a clean home and am actually pretty anal about it.), I’ve been lazy. And being me, I have felt guilty about being lazy. I haven’t been giving my family the baked goods they love nor keeping up in here. But now, with the weather getting colder, I, like so many of you, am back to baking. Yay for baking! You will not however, be getting the recipe for the pumpkin sticky buns I made the other day because they pretty much stunk. I have another version I will be trying and posting. Todays homemade bread though? Yep; you’re getting that recipe. This comes form the cookbook Bon Appetit, Y’all” I love this cookbook. Good southern cooking and the writing is sweet in parts, funny in others. There is a recipe in there for Honey Whole Wheat bread. Since I’ve been trying to eat better, I wanted to make this as opposed to say, one for “There is no nutrition whatsoever in this bread” white bread. Though I’m not sure the home made honey butter I slathered all over my piece helped the cause of nutrition hehe.

This is easily made. I don’t have a stand mixer so I did the mixing part by hand. Do your arm exercises; this is a heavy dough 😛 The original recipe calls for shaping this and putting it into loaf pans but I wanted a more rustic look so went for hand shaped freeform loaves. Now this is NOT a light airy loaf so if that’s what you’re looking for, this isn’t the recipe for you. This is a heavy, fairly dense loaf. It’s also chock full of flavor and nutrition from the whole wheat flour and wheat germ. I also added some of this Harvest Grains Blend  from King Arthur Flour which upped both the flavor and the nutrition. if you can buy some of this, do so. It’s a wonderfully tasty addition to many baked goods.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

  • 3 1/4 cup warm water (no hotter than 115 degrees; about 110 is optimal for blooming yeast)
  • 1/3 cup good quality honey
  • 2 packets dry yeast
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup Harvest Grains Blend (optional- could also throw in a mix of say, sunflower kernels and flax seed)
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt (yes, 2; sea salt takes more than table salt to get the same flavor)
  1. In a large measuring cup, mix together the warm water, yeast and honey. Stir to dissolve then set aside while you mix the other ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the whole wheat flour, bread flour, wheat germ, salt and grain blend (if using)
  3. Pour in the yeast mixture (it should be nice and foamy by now). Mix this together well; either by hand or if you are blessed to have a stand mixer, on low speed with the dough hook. Mix just until it is well combined.
  4. Dump the dough (and any dregs in the bowl) out onto a lightly floured board (kitchen counter in my case). Knead the dough well, adding a LITTLE more flour at a time if sticky, until it forms a cohesive mass. Continue to knead for about 10 minutes. You want dough that is smooth and elastic and that, if you poke it, is somewhat springy.
  5. Plop the dough into an oiled bowl. Turn the dough to make sure all of it is oiled, then cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and put in a warm place to rise until it is doubled in bulk.
  6. When risen, divide in half and either shape into loafs and put into oiled loaf pans or as I did, make into 2 freeform loaves. If you do this, put each one onto an oiled baking sheet. Let rise until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  7. While they are rising, preheat your oven to 400. If your oven runs hot, go down to 375. The bottoms on mine got a bit too brown at 400. Bake until nicely browned, about 45 minutes (again; ovens are different so check after about 30 minutes). They should sound hollow when tapped on top.
  8. If in loaf pans,  cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack.
  9. Serve with every bad for you spread you can think of 😀

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Sometimes Simple Is Best- Even When It Has A Touch Of Fancy

Some of these with a glass of Shiraz and it was a wonderful meal

I’ve never been a fancy person. I mean, for heavens sake, I openly admit that two of my favorite foods are Cheetos and Twinkies. I’d say that qualifies as simple tastes. I also like Liverwurst, pickled herring and ham and cheese sandwiches (those rare times I even eat sandwiches that aren’t hot and gooey) on smooshy white bread spread with butter. Not sure if I just qualified myself as having simple tastes or just never having progressed past age six in my eating habits. 😛

But I do prefer simple foods for the most part. I have the worlds worst appetite especially for a heavy woman and forget to eat half the time. Were it not for my husbands prodding, I would probably live on tea, yogurt and the occasional lean cuisine meal. Give me some cheese, some bread, (a bottle of wine and thou? sorry; tangent) fruit and I’ll be happy unless it’s one of those times when I have a craving for a 20 inch thick ribeye steak cooked to a perfect medium rare.

So what I’ve made today appeals to me a lot on both the simple level and the not too much level and I hope it does to you also. Like the post title says, it has a bit of fancy to it. This comes with goat cheese which unless one owns a goat and makes it oneself is fancy based on price alone if nothing else (thank God for finding it on sale!). But otherwise, this is a simple homey meal (or appetizer) that is fairly quick to throw together and yet fancy enough to serve to guests. That goat cheese thing does that. Makes people think it’s fancy when in reality goat cheese has been a source of food for many many centuries.

Give this a try. I think you’ll like it. 🙂 The creamy slightly salty cheese with the fresh Spinach and the sweet caramelized tomatoes all atop of piece of crusty French bread is pure Heaven.

Goat Cheese, Spinach & Oven Roasted Tomatoes Bruschetta

  • 1 loaf French Baguette
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 pound oven roasted cherry or grape tomatoes (the store bought ones in oil are fine if you prefer)
  • 1 6 ounce bag prewashed baby spinach leaves, stems removed and thoroughly dried
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil if roasting your tomatoes yourself
  1. If roasting the tomatoes yourself, preheat oven to 325. Slice the tomatoes in halves or quarters. Sprinkle with salt, pepper (and I also use McCormick Garlic/Onion Grill mix. It has nice pieces of both the onion and the garlic and adds both flavor and a wonderful aroma to the roasting tomatoes.) and drizzle with a good quality olive oil. Toss to coat the tomatoes well.
  2. Roast at 325 until the tomatoes are nicely caramelized and softened. You’re not trying for the texture of sun dried tomatoes here; just browned and soft.  Let cool somewhat.
  3. Slice your baguette into thin slices. Toast if you prefer it crunchier. I heated mine up in the oven but didn’t toast it.  Spread with the goat cheese and top with a spinach leaf or two and a little bit of the tomatoes.
  4. Eat and enjoy the simple things.